The District's Summer Youth Employment Program, in contrast to snafustudded efforts in previous years, successfully distributed the first set of paychecks to more than 11,000 program participants who began work on June 23, city officials said.
The program, which hired more than 15,600 young people for both city government and private sector summer jobs, pays the participants every two weeks on a staggered basis in accordance with when the youths began work.
"I was expecting to be swamped [with phone calls]," said Jackie Threadgill, public relations director for the Department of Employment Services. In past summers the phone rang often with calls from anxious youths. But, said Threadgill, "We had not one call today."
Last year, program officials attempted to distribute checks to thousands of workers instructed to come in person to the employment services office at 500 C. St. NW, but left empty-handed because of various clerical foulups. By late August, the program began mailing checks to the youths, but even then, some did not recieve them until after school had started in the fall.
This summer, the checks are being distributed at the 1,500 work sites throughout the city, rather than from the program's downtown headquarters. Matt Shannon, program operations director, attributed the improved distribution to a computer-based plan that coordinates deliveries of the checks.
Virginia Morris, director of Far East Community Services, with 27 work sites, for example, said 197 paychecks went to participants as scheduled yesterday.